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Miketz ~ 5773 ~ מקץ
Pharaoh dreams a repetitive, troubled vision that none of his advisors can interpret. The chief Butler tells Pharaoh of Joseph’s ability to define and interpret dreams and he is then brought out of the dungeon. Pharaoh relays the details of the dreams to Joseph. Not only does Joseph analyze the specifics of the dreams, he offers a proposal on how to organize a solution to the forewarned debacle. Pharaoh ultimately satisfied with every aspect of Joseph’s proposition immediately installs him as Grand Vizier of Egypt. Joseph institutes his grain conservation program. He marries the daughter of Potiphar and fathers Menashe and Efraim. The famine arrives in Egypt and Pharaoh sends the hungry mobs to Joseph for food distribution. Jacob sends the ten eldest brothers to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph recognizes the brothers, but they do not recognize their nearly 40 year old brother. Joseph begins to bait/badger them.
Joseph takes Shimeon “hostage” and sends the brothers back for Binyamin. Their money is replaced in their grain sacks as well. Jacob at first refuses to send Binyamin to Egypt but the famine and Yehuda convince him.
The brothers return to Joseph in Egypt baring gifts. Apologetically, they make excuses for finding their original payments in their sacks. Joseph shrugs off the occurrence, attributes it to G-d’s blessings and then asks about Jacob and his brother Binyamin. After emotionally breaking down, Joseph returns to oversee the brother’s feast. Joseph sends them homeward with grain, their original monies and Joseph’s goblet in Binyamin’s sack. Accused of thievery, they commit the “guilty” to enslavement. All the brothers return to Joseph and Judah begs forgiveness.
MAFTIR: Numbers 7:48—59 ~ page 599
HAFTARAH: Zechariah 2:14—4:7 ~ pages 987
This is a special Haftarah for the first Shabbat of Chanukah. The opening words of the Haftarah are G-d’s promise to dwell among us. This is the purpose of having built the Sanctuary and this is the purpose of rededicating it, as was done on Chanukah. This Haftarah contains the vision of olive oil miraculously flowing into the gold menorah flanked by olive trees, the basis of the emblem of the State of Israel. The message is that our success is not measured by might and power, but rather by the spirit of G-d. This was an important message for the Chashmona’im as well as for the modern leaders of the State of Israel.
Parashah & Holiday Study Questions
1. What did the fat cows being eaten symbolize (41:4)?
2. If Joseph was worthy of burial in Israel because he always referred to himself proudly as an “ivri” (Jew), does this contradict his name change (41:45)?
3. Why does the Torah state “Joseph’s brothers” went down to Egypt and not ‘Jacob’s sons’ (42:3)?
4. What was Joseph’s motivation by having Shimon bound “in front of their eyes” (42:24)?
5. Is there a ritual ending Chanukah? Yes—what is it? No—why not?